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Tom Penn steps down as LAFC president

Club co-owner steps onto new opportunities.

MLS: Banc of California Stadium Ribbon Cutting Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Football Club announced Tuesday that Tom Penn is stepping down as president of the club, effective immediately.

Penn is exiting to pursue other business opportunities, and will step into a new role as executive consultant at the club. John Thorrington and Larry Freedman will serve as interim co-presidents, likely with Thorrington focusing on the sporting side and Freedman the business side of the business.

“I am eternally grateful for my time as LAFC President and this once in a lifetime opportunity to co-create LAFC with so many wonderful people,” said Penn in a team statement. “It has been an honor and privilege to partner with LAFC’s amazing ownership group. I am so thankful for the talent, passion and commitment of LAFC’s employees who dedicate their lives to the club’s mission to unite, bring joy and be a force for good. John Thorrington and Larry Freedman are two of the most talented executives in pro sports, and I am certain LAFC will thrive. I will continue to assist the club in any way that I can, and my wife Melissa and I remain Black & Gold forever in support of LAFC.”

Penn was tapped to be president from the get-go at the club, as he ran the very first fan roundtable discussion (that yours truly participated in). In addition to launching the club, getting a stadium location and successfully building a venue, bringing in the first rounds of sponsorships and finding purchase with the community, Penn had a successful five-year run with the club, capped off with the 2018 Los Angeles Sports Council Executive of the Year honor.

“We are grateful to Tom for his tremendous contributions to LAFC and we wish him good luck as he moves on to his new ventures,” said LAFC lead managing owner Larry Berg. “From the beginning, Tom had a clear vision of what LAFC would mean to the city of Los Angeles and it is incredible to see that dream being realized. The tremendous success that the club has achieved is a result of the strength and quality of the team Tom assembled, and I am confident that he is leaving the organization in a position to accomplish even greater things in the near future.”

I think if you’re reading between the lines, LAFC has been in a moment of transition for a bit and Penn’s departure, on seemingly good terms, is part of that. LAFC still have objectives to reach, like winning more trophies and becoming a long-term established brand in Los Angeles, and it will be interesting to see the next phase of the club’s history. But the initial bar has been set, and best of luck to Tom moving forward.

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